Sunday morning I am running my first half-marathon. Ever. In my life. Yes, that was trepidation you heard in my voice, my nervousness is quite palpable, actually.
My goal: Just Finish.
And right now I feel fairly confident that I can do that. I’m not looking to break any records, or win any awards, I’m just looking to cross a finish line. That alone will mean quite a bit to this girl right here:
You might remember that picture, I’ve posted it here before, but if not, that was me on my first day of Crossfit (two years ago, this month – HEY-O!) On that memorable day the warm-up involved running 100 meters. It was uncomfortable and awful, and I remember feeling particularly embarrassed that I had to walk. 100 meters is not a long distance and I struggled — and it wasn’t in that triumphant-backed-by-a-soundtrack kind of way. I felt uncomfortable, I worried that I looked stupid, but most memorably it just made me upset with my body.
I kept trying to improve, though never running outside of the gym. Eventually I switched up my footwear which made a HUGE difference. Little by little I got faster and slowly but surely my body could go a little bit farther. It was a long term exercise in patience and persistence, because despite the fact that we run a lot in CrossFit there were blocks of time where my running did not improve at all. But then I began to challenge myself to run outside of the gym.
It was funny because I never had that ubiquitous desire to “Be A Runner” that so many people talk about. What I did have was this feeling that running was difficult, and you KNOW how I am with a challenge. Then one night last year I got ballsy. I signed up to run a half marathon in Seattle with a friend (Hi Jessica!) and I set my eye on the prize. I started training very diligently and making good friends with the treadmill at my office gym just about every morning around 5am. This went on for a few months, but after those few months I noticed a little hiccup – I had stopped losing weight. I was CrossFitting like a maniac, eating clean as a whistle, running 4 days per week and generally being a workout superstar! But the weight was just hanging on. Also: I WAS REALLY FREAKING TIRED.
So I reevaluated, hemmed and hawed, asked for advice and did some really deep thinking. I heard loud and clear (from many of you, actually) that training for running events and weight loss don’t generally go together. And because my goal at the time was to drop some weight, and I wasn’t about to give CrossFit up (that I was doing for my sanity), I ultimately decided to NOT run that race. There is a little part of me that still feels sad about it (Running! In Seattle! Waaaaah!) but it was the best decision I could have made at the time and I don’t regret it one bit. Once I subtracted the 5am running and added the extra sleeping, I was right back on track with the weight dropping.
But that “Goal: Unacheived” feeling sort of nagged at me. In the meantime I would run here or there for pleasure, and YES — I do mean pleasure. Running has never come easy to me, and I will never tell you that the first mile I run is enjoyable, but when you have felt that moment of sadness that I felt my first day of CrossFit — sadness about your body and its performance (or perceived lack thereof) you end up reveling in your own progress even if it is progress doing something that isn’t 100% enjoyable all of the time. And as I did it more, I became more confident.
I have said it a number of times: I will never be a super speedy runner. My body was built to lift heavy shit, not so much to race. But I have to tell you, when Sarah suggested we run this half-marathon at the end of October, I felt a little bit inspired.
Working on my running over the last few months has been SO. MUCH. FUN. at times. Of course it has also been crappy and tiring and hard, but improving on the tough stuff has been AMAZING! I’m not sure I would have challenged myself to run this race on Sunday if it wasn’t for the encouragement of Sarah, but heck, now that we are all signed up, I’m so glad the race is here and we get to do it!
One of the biggest gifts of the last 2 years, since opting to change up my lifestyle a bit, are the people who I have met, gotten close to, and learned from. It’s so fun to have friends who want to go out and run way too many miles on Saturday morning! It feels so nice to have coaches who are invested in your performance. It builds so much confidence to make a goal and then take the necessary steps to achieve it, but it is sharing those goals, and encouraging others, and having lots of discussion with a like-minded community of people that just make it all the more meaningful. It’s happened here in town, at the gym, on the internet, and out in Colorado at the very least. It’s THE PEOPLE that are the coolest part of this journey.
So I’m wondering, My People (yep, that’s you) – if you have a second on Sunday morning, can you send Sarah and I some good pre-race vibes? I’ve been running a lot, but Sunday will actually be the furthest I’ve run, um…EVER, . 13.1 miles, HOLY CRAP I’M A LITTLE NERVOUS. So any good ju ju you have to spare would mean a lot to this girl. But even more, it would mean so much to that girl in the picture up there, who never thought she would even be in a position to ask for support in a race like this. So thanks, y’all! It means the world….